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What is the Average Base Salary for Master Plumbers

Career News January 8, 2013

Plumbers are professionals that perform installation or repairs of piping systems used for the transportation of air, steam or water, for ventilation and sanitation. An aspiring plumber will need to undergo training that takes many years to complete, and then they are required to complete a number of exams before they can obtain certification. The average annual salary of a master plumber can vary based on several factors such as the nature of organization and years of experience. In this article, we will discuss what an aspiring master plumber must do in order to pursue this career path.

Those who look forward to having a successful career in plumbing must be in excellent physical condition, and must possess mechanical aptitude alongside manual dexterity. While many potential plumbers undertake hands on training and participate in apprenticeships, they can also choose to enroll in formal training programs offered by trade schools, vocational schools, community colleges or even the armed forces.


Many potential candidates join apprenticeship programs conducted by local plumbing unions. In a majority of states, apprentice plumbers are required to be at least seventeen or eighteen years old and possess a high school diploma or equivalent qualification. Apprenticeships usually last for two to five years. Coursework relating to such programs includes the application of local plumbing laws and understanding of blueprints. The training program involves classroom lectures as well as practical training. Once they have completed the apprenticeship, candidates are required to take an examination that will qualify them to receive licenses to operate as journeyman plumbers. The state in which the prospective plumber seeks to work regulates and administers the exam.

Advancing to Master Plumber

A journeyman holding a license can seek to improve his/her status to master plumber by garnering additional independent hands on experience of four to five years. Additionally, they have to pass several local, state and federal exams relating to assessment and local plumbing code. The testing parameters and conditions that potential candidates are required to satisfy, en route to master plumber status, vary from state to state.

Job & Wage Potential for Master Plumbers

Job growth for master plumbers has been projected at sixteen percent during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ( In May 2008, master plumbers earned an average hourly wage of 21.94. However, the average annual salary can vary depending on various factors (source: In 2010, master plumbers earned an average annual salary ranging from $37,506 to $49,920. A master plumber with work experience ranging from five to nine years can earn an average annual salary between $37,085 and $56,000; one with 20 years of experience or more can earn an average annual salary ranging from $43,790 to $74,700.

As previously stated, the salary earned by a master plumber can vary depending on the type of employer. Master plumbers are usually employed by public schools, franchises, commercial firms, local government agencies, or state government agencies. The lowest salaries earned by master plumbers are those working in public schools who take home an average annual salary of $35,375; the highest salary offered to master plumbers are at franchises, where these professionals can earn as much as  $76,302 annually. However, the greatest annual median salary range is offered to those who are self-employment and ranges between $38,665 and $73,807.

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